Contaminated compost: How an industrial herbicide is ruining backyard gardens

Contaminated compost: How an industrial herbicide is ruining backyard gardens

SOURCE: The Counter DATE: July 22, 2020 SNIP: Clopyralid, used on golf courses and large-scale hayfields, is ending up in compost—and ruining plants that grow in it. In late April, [Iris Nason] moved her tomatoes into the outdoor beds, containing new soil from a local supplier. A week later, she knew something was wrong. Her healthy starts were twisted and the leaves began curling and cupping into strange shapes. Nason is a long-time gardener but had never seen anything like this before. She posted photos in a local gardening group and discovered many others were experiencing similar things with their gardens. They all had one thing in common: the company they’d gotten their soil amendment from—soil that had been contaminated with the herbicide clopyralid. This herbicide, along with aminopyralid and picloram and a few other varieties, are all known as “persistent herbicides” because they take a long time to break down. All of them are commonly used on golf courses and hayfields where they’re deployed to kill problematic broadleaf weeds. Even though state rules (which vary) are supposed to prevent clopyralid-contaminated grass, wheat, or other clippings from ending up in compost, cases like the one in Portland are not uncommon. If an animal like a horse or cow eats feed that has been sprayed with clopyralid, the herbicide can pass through the digestive tract and come out in the manure still active, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. This contaminated animal manure can also make its way to local composting companies. Clopyralid leaves grass or hay intact while killing pesky broadleaf weeds like thistles and dandelions, according to...
Forest twice size of UK destroyed in decade for big consumer brands

Forest twice size of UK destroyed in decade for big consumer brands

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: June 11, 2019 SNIP: An area twice the size of the UK has been destroyed for products such as palm oil and soy over the last decade, according to analysis by Greenpeace International. In 2010, members of the Consumer Goods Forum, including some of the world’s biggest consumer brands, pledged to eliminate deforestation by 2020, through the sustainable sourcing of four commodities most linked to forest destruction: soya, palm oil, paper and pulp, and cattle. But analysis by Greenpeace International suggests that by the start of 2020, an estimated 50m hectares (123m acres) of forest are likely to have been destroyed in the growing demand for and consumption of agricultural products, in the 10 years since those promises were made. Its report, Countdown to Extinction, said that since 2010, the area planted with soya in Brazil has increased by 45% and palm oil production in Indonesia has risen by 75%. The environmental group accused major brands of failing to meet their commitments and warned that the current situation was “bleak”, advising them to evolve in order to “prevent climate and ecological breakdown”. Deforestation releases greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and destroy important habitat, threatening species with extinction. About 80% of global deforestation is caused by agricultural production, which is also the leading cause of habitat destruction, the group said. Agricultural consumption, and therefore production, is forecast to rise globally. Meat consumption is set to rise by 76% according to some estimates. Soya production is also predicted to soar by almost 45% and palm oil by nearly 60%, according to the Food and...